fb-pixel Skip to main content

Hingham’s Old Ship Church to sell parish house to developer

The members of Old Ship Church in Hingham have agreed to sell their parish house to a developer, who also is a neighbor.

D.J. McKinnon of Hingham-based Atlantic Development said he had signed a purchase and sales agreement in December to buy the 10,800-square-foot building set on nearly 3 acres, which the church has been trying to sell for several years.

McKinnon lives down the street from the parish house, which was built as a single-family home in 1867. McKinnon estimates it needs $2 million in repairs.

The plan is to use the proceeds to build a smaller, energy-efficient, and handicapped-accessible parish house on vacant land next to the historic meetinghouse where services have been held since 1681, according to Nina Wellford of the Old Ship’s board of trustees. She said the congregation could not afford to maintain the existing parish house.


Neither Wellford nor McKinnon would disclose the sale price, and McKinnon said he was still researching the best use for the property and planned “a lot of dialogue” with neighbors.

“Right now we’re focused on what is allowed by zoning,” he said. The property is zoned residential, primarily for single- and two-family homes.

The church put the old parish house property on the market for $4.8 million in 2016, and had a buyer who planned a Chapter 40B project that included affordable housing. But the project died amid neighborhood opposition, and Hingham no longer has to accept 40B projects because it has exceeded the threshold of having more than 10 percent of its housing classified by the state as affordable.

Wellford said Old Ship also plans to sell a small portion of the current parish house property – about .3 acres – to the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust for expansion of the adjacent town-owned Lincoln Apartments, which provides affordable housing to seniors.


Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.